Are you familiar with the term “Higher Self?”
It seems to come up plenty in discussions that revolve around metaphysical-type topics. “Listen to your Higher Self”…that kind of thing.
I first encountered the term (to the best of my recollection…) when reading this book that I blogged about here a while back that’s called Ask Your Guides, by Sonia Choquette. I won’t rehash most of what I said about the book back then, except to again state that while I didn’t think the book was perfect, it did help to launch me more fully on my own journey into the Occult, for which I’m thankful. But anyway, Ms. Choquette does reference the Higher Self fairly regularly in her book, but as I recall it, she never really offered a solid enough definition that I walked away with a firm grasp on what she was talking about. I remember one section in which she recounts how someone came to her for advice, and she dodged the question by asking her own in return: “Well, what does your Higher Self think you should do…?” And the other woman ponders this for a moment, and then says, “My Higher Self thinks that…” And I don’t remember the specifics of the rest of it — the woman’s problem, what her Higher Self was advising, etc., and none of that matters here as far as the thrust of today’s post — what does matter, though, is the fact that as I was reading this, I was kind of ejected from the grip of the book, to the point that I looked up from it and asked my empty living room, “But what the hell is a Higher Self, and how do you talk to it and get advice from it??”
Since then, I’ve done a lot of reading about such concepts, talked to a lot of different people in a lot of different scenarios (real life, internet, formal settings, informal chats, you name it), and engaged in some explorations of my own…and I feel that I’ve come to have a decent fix on at least what “Higher Self” now means for me.
I think that many versions of the definition of this term agree that the Higher Self is something connected to each one of us, but at the same time, it exists on a “higher,” maybe more spiritual plane, closer to the Divine, and is probably immortal. One definition I saw once had it that the Higher Self is your earthly self minus your ego…which makes for a neat and catchy little sound-bite, but I don’t feel that this fully captures the concept in its entirety. It does, however, hit upon the important point that the Higher Self is largely — perhaps wholly — “above” the kinds of mundane concerns that we here on Planet Earth are mired in during almost every micro-second that together comprise our journey from the cradle to the grave. The Higher Self isn’t concerned with trends, nine-to-five grinds, petty jealousies, minor slights, gossip, celebrity shenanigans, or yes, the desires of the ego. The Higher Self has Higher Things on its Higher Mind: things like Evolution, Exploration, Divinity, Growth, Nobility, Love, Compassion, Wisdom, Nurturing, Joy, Wonder…these kinds of Things.
I believe that the Higher Self actually exists above/behind/beyond this thing we live in that the Hindu faith refers to as Maya, or “the Veil of Illusion.” For the most part in this life, in this world, we’re so wrapped up in all of these various constructs — some shared, like our general Consensus Reality, and some more personal to each of us — that we’re largely oblivious to What’s Really Going On In Existence and what our true parts in it may be.
To put it another way, imagine a Divinity: a Goddess or God type of Being who exists in way more dimensions than our little 4-D minds can truly grasp. This Divinity is unfettered by space and time and age and physical laws and such. The Divinity exists in wonder, and despite being so Divine, is still learning, still growing…
At some point, the Divinity happens upon this little pool of sorts: it’s like a little pearl of liquid floating there in the Aether, and within the bubble of itself are all these constraining little properties, such as the things I just mentioned: that would be space, time, age, physical laws, and all the other Saturnian constraints that bind all of us while we’re here on Earth. Then imagine that the Divinity finds this little pool to be very sweet and adorable, and also representative of a terrific opportunity for real Growth and Understanding:
What might it be like for a Divinity to experience limitations? What might be extracted from an interval spent laboring under such constraints?
So imagine that the Divinity decides to sample the interior of this quaint little pool, this odd little bubble floating ever upwards through the timeless expanses of Existence… The Divinity extrudes a sort of probe from itself, like an antenna, but one with a rough, rudimentary sort of consciousness of its own, made to work within the limited nature of this pool/bubble…and the Divinity then gently, reverently eases the extrusion into that little pool, like a young swimmer dipping a toe into a body of water to gauge its temperature…
So if you can imagine such a cosmic tableau…my own definition, then, is that this multidimensional, fine, lofty, shining Divinity is our Higher Self…the limited and limiting little pool or bubble is our earthly, mundane, physical reality…and the extrusion, the antenna, the probe…is us.
And after our Higher Self has gleaned what info it needs to glean from this Experience, it will withdraw its probe from this particular pool, reclaim it back fully into itself, merging it back together with the Divinity proper, and it will then continue on with its own apotheosis toward total Oneness with All, or whatever endpoint it’s headed toward, and we — the little earthly “self” that each of us currently thinks of as “me” or “I” — will be fully reunited with that greater, truer, finer, Higher Self.
That’s my current definition of what a Higher Self is, anyway — please feel free to adopt it as yours, or to post here or drop me a line with alternative possibilities!